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Azerbaijan’s Military Operation in Nagorno-Karabakh: Recent Developments and Implications

The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan stated on Tuesday that it has initiated an “anti-terrorism”  crusade in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. This move comes in response to reports of  violent shelling by Armenian media and original authorities on the indigenous capital, Stepanakert. 

According to  sanctioned Armenian sources, during the attacks by Azerbaijani forces, at least five  individuals, including a child, were killed, and 80 others were injured in bullet and drone strikes. Nagorno-Karabakh, a  generally Armenian enclave internationally  honored as part of Azerbaijan, has been a source of two conflicts between  bordering  communities over the  past three decades, most  lately in 2020.

In December, after Azerbaijan’s military blocked the Lachin Corridor, the sole road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, effectively cutting off  inventories for  roughly 120,000  residents, the region has been in a state of pressure for several months.

As per the ceasefire conditions of 2020, the task of  precluding a new outbreak of  conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has been entrusted to Russian peacemakers. Still, Moscow has been  indicted of being  reticent or  unrehearsed to  intermediate on behalf of its long- term  supporter, Armenia, in the face of Azerbaijani aggression.

Karabakh authorities have reported  nonstop exchange of fire with Azerbaijani forces in the region. In response, the Azerbaijani administration has expressed  amenability to meet with Armenian  residents of Karabakh but added in a statement” To stop the acts of terrorism, illegal Armenian fortified groups must raise the white flag, surrender all munitions, and  strike the illegal government. Anti-terrorism  sweats will continue until all unlawful conditioning is stopped.”

Organized Shelling

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense called for the” complete  pullout of Armenian fortified forces of ethical Armenian origin and the dismantling of the government in Stepanakert” in a statement issued on Tuesday. It emphasized that” the only way to achieve peace and stability in the region is the unconditional and complete  pullout of Armenian fortified forces from Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region.”

The ministry further claimed that, as part of the original anti-terrorism measures taken to  offset the conditioning of Armenian fortified groups in the Karabakh region, Azerbaijani military units had destroyed positions and  service installations of Armenian fortified forces through organized long- term blasting.   It argued that only  licit military targets were being targeted and emphasized,” Only legal  service  objects are being annulled.”

Nagorno-Karabakh Shelling
Nagorno-Karabakh Shelling

The statement also asserted that Armenia had fortified its positions, reached the loftiest  position of combat readiness for its forces, and had  formerly removed landmines from  preliminarily  enthralled areas. It claimed that an Azerbaijani military vehicle had collided with a landmine, resulting in the deaths of two civilians. Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected these claims, stating that Armenian forces weren’t present in Nagorno-Karabakh.

It stated,” Armenia’s  backing to Nagorno-Karabakh is of a  philanthropic  nature, aggravated by the illegal  leaguer of the Lachin Corridor, which has caused a  further  philanthropic   extremity.”   Armenian news agency Armen press reported that the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army, which isn’t part of Armenia’s fortified forces, is displaying” strong resistance” against Azerbaijani attempts to advance. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called for an  exigency meeting of the Armenian Security Council in light of the situation in Karabakh.

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense responded to Armenia’s claims by posting on Twitter, stating that Armenian forces had fired on Azerbaijani military positions.   Armenian news agency Armen press reported that Stepanakert  megacity was under heavy Azerbaijani  hail, with mobile and internet connections  disintegrated.

Lately, Azerbaijan has been transporting  colors daily, accumulating  colorful munitions, including heavy  ordnance, for large- scale  conflict against Artsakh,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Artsakh, using the original term for Nagorno- Karabakh, in a statement.” Now we see that Azerbaijan is  raising its policy of ethical  sanctification, moving towards physical destruction of the mercenary population and mercenary objects.”   In this tense situation, it’s  pivotal for both sides to exercise restraint and seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh to  help prevent further loss of life and suffering. 

 Unforeseen Escalation

The  former war, which ended in a decisive defeat for Armenia’s supported Nagorno- Karabakh state, lasted for 44 days before a ceasefire was brokered by Moscow. Under the terms of that agreement, nearly 2,000 Russian peacekeeping  colors were stationed to  guard the Lachin Corridor in Nagorno-Karabakh. Still, Russian peacemakers didn’t  help Azerbaijani forces from establishing military checkpoints along the route and blocking the inflow of  inventories.

In the  morning of this month, Pashinyan advised that Azerbaijan had been amassing  colors along the Nagorno-Karabakh contact line and the Armenian- Azerbaijani border, raising  enterprises of possible  conflict.

Pashinyan stated,” Over the  past week, the  service and political situation in our region has significantly deteriorated.” He added,” This is due to Azerbaijan’s  attention to colors along the Nagorno-Karabakh contact line and the Armenian- Azerbaijani border.”   Joseph Borrell, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, condemned the aggression and emphasized that military  rallying shouldn’t be used as a rationale for expelling the original population.

France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also condemned Azerbaijan’s aggression and stated that it had called for an” immediate meeting” of the United Nations Security Council. Pashinyan told Armen press that he’d  bandied about the  extremity with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and French President Emmanuel Macron, both of whom expressed concern over the  inferior use of force and called for  transnational mechanisms to address the escalation. 

Russian inactivity

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed deep concern about the  rising pressures in the region.   Maria Zakharova, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, said on Tuesday that Russia had  wielded strong pressure on opposing sides in the region to cease  conflict, end  conflict  incontinently, and return to the path of political and political  agreement.

Azerbaijan Protests Russian Troops in Nagorno-Karabakh
Azerbaijan Protests Russian Troops in Nagorno-Karabakh

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin  prophet, also expressed” concern over the  rapid-fire increase in pressure and  conflict” and called for the parties to cleave to the trilateral agreements  inked between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020 following the war.   Still, Pashinyan laterally blamed Russia, suggesting that they weren’t informed about Azerbaijan’s military operations before his government. He said,” We’ve  received no information from our  mates in Russia about this operation.” He called it” strange and  intimidating.”

Pashinyan  contended,” Azerbaijan has initiated ground operations basically aimed at ethnically  sanctifying the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh.”” We believe that Russian peacekeeping forces should take action first, and secondly, we anticipate action from the United Nations Security Council.”   It’s an unforeseen and worrying escalation in a region with a history of conflict, and it’s  pivotal that all parties involved exercise restraint and seek political  results to  help  further escalation and loss of life. 

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